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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, December 31, 2003


What Makes This Campaign Different

posted by Dana at Wednesday, December 31, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I'm not right all the time. (I'm not left all the time, either.)

There are a lot of disagreements on this blog. And a lot on the O-blog as well. Differences of tone, of opinion, of attitude, and more.

But I want to point out, before the actual Election Year gets going, how important these differences are, and how they make this campaign different from anything that has come before.

For generations we've had campaigns run by insiders. Only a few hands got near the wheel. The rest of us were extras. We went from the smoke-filled rooms of the early century, through the "Making of a President" strategems of the mid-century, to the "War Rooms" of the late century.

And always it was the same. Here is the message. Stay on it.

We're not that way, here, on the O-blog, or in the streets and living rooms where minds are changed.

Anyone can contribute ideas. They all can make a difference.

Let me give one concrete example. When Mathew Gross put up one of the first bats a few months ago, I sent a note showing the code he could use to let hundreds of other blogs put that same graphic on their pages, linked to the same place. He checked my code, posted the correct code within hours, and the bat started swinging everywhere.

This does not make me a campaign insider. (It certainly doesn't make me a genius.) But the point is that any of us -- any of us -- can contribute ideas and see them implemented. These can be strategic, tactical, thematic, literally anything.

The other campaigns for the Democratic nomination have, at most, a few dozen minds each. The Dean campaign has, literally, hundreds of thousands of active minds, and it has a way to use all of them.

This means a lot more than the $15 million we've raised this quarter. I suspect it means more than the $120 million Bush has raised this year.

All of us, no matter our opinions, or how we came here, are redefining our politics, making them closer to the Founders' vision of how they should be.

Sure, the press doesn't "get it" yet. Sure, the other campaigns still don't have a Clue about it.

But what others think doesn't matter. Reality matters. Even if you came to this blog as a troll, you matter. Here, you're being heard. Here, you're no longer a face in the crowd. Here, you're a player. Here, you're a full citizen at last.

This is what I celebrate this New Year. The task before us in 2004 is simple, to scale this, to spread this around, until every American has the opportunity the Constitution promised, to be heard, so that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.

That's what this is about. Look at our Constitution. See those words at the top, bigger, bolder, louder than the rest, proclaiming a great new idea of self-governance.

We The People.

Not just the wealthy. Not just the insiders. Not just the few. All the people.

So no matter how you have felt about what I may have written here, thanks for being here. God bless you in this New Year. Next year, in Washington.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.